I have been involved with youth sport since I was a teenager myself when I used to organise and run table tennis tournaments and coaching clubs in Billingshurst and Southwater. The passion for sport has never faded and as a family we are great believers in the positives that come from being involved with sport.
We therefore do not mind devoting company time and resources to helping out with youth sport locally. Over the years this has taken the form of weekly time off for coaching at local schools, financially supporting local festivals and tournaments and organising events during company and personal time.
Throughout the year we organise;
An introduction to Tag Rugby for School Years 3 and 4 at a local secondary school with GCSE PE students from that school coaching the children and organising matches for them. We generally get 15-20 school teams for this event and around 30-40 young leaders. This is a very popular event as the teachers from the primary schools love that tag rugby is a sport that is equal to both boys and girls at this age group. For the secondary schools it can be hard work because they have to prepare their students a few weeks in advance to ensure that on the day they have the confidence to run drills, lead games and Ref matches. All of this fills the children with confidence and provides them with leadership skills.
A similar number of teams come to our Tag Rugby Tournament for school Years 5 and 6 with the winners going onto represent Guildford in the Surrey County Finals. There is more pressure here
because of the competitive nature of the events so we don’t ask the young leaders to ref, friends from Guildford RFC and Guildfordians RFC do this instead. The Young Leaders act as linesmen, pitch marshals, team mentors, scorers and time keepers which again provides them with an outlet for their leadership skills.
This year we were asked to take over the running of the Surrey County Finals for Active Surrey and we helped to run an excellent event at Surrey Sports Park where 26 schools competed to be crowded county champions for 2016. We completely changed the format to ensure that all teams had equal game time, we introduced a Cup/Plate/Bowl format so that there was more to play for and as with everything we do a Fair Play Award based not only on the children’s actions but the parents and teachers as well.
All of the above this year has been organised and run with support from professional clubs Harlequins and London Welsh (who we sponsor) and Lions Academy who provide professional coaching locally.
These events take a lot of organising and they take up a lot of Meaco time and resource which can be an issue in a small company, but it is something that we are passionate about and we will continue to support.
Outside of work I coach rugby at Guildford RFC and am also Chairman of Wey Valley Swimming Club, more on that later.